Today, the United States Supreme Court denied to review opinions issued by three appellate courts that declared bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. The practical effect of the order denying review is that, after the dust settles, 11 additional states will have marriage equality — bringing the total to 30 within the next few months.
For couples living in states without marriage equality, today’s announcement is bittersweet. While the Supreme Court’s inaction is a positive in that it expands the number of states where discrimination in marriage based on sexual orientation is not legal, it means more waiting for those who live in other states.
Many of the states without marriage equality also lack legislation that protects gay people from discrimination (for example, in housing and employment). Similarly, many of those states do not provide make it a hate crime to violently target a gay person for no other reason than that person’s sexuality.
Until the Supreme Court (or, alternatively, every appellate court in the country) declares marriage equality to be the law of the land, litigation will continue.
Joshua Newville is proud to represent thirteen same-sex couples in historic challenges to marriage equality bans in both South Dakota and North Dakota. For those couples, today’s events are a source of optimism about the eventual outcome of their cases. Newville will continue to fight on behalf of them and all gay and lesbians who are denied their rights and equal protection under the laws.
Joshua Newville is an attorney and mediator based in Minnesota. He litigates employment and civil rights cases, serves as a mediator for civil disputes, and provides employment law advice.